TOWN: Haupu, Letefoho
ARABICA VARIETALS: Timor, Typica
ALTITUDE: 1400 to 1900 meters above sea level
FARMERS: 545+ farmers working with Lutlala washing station
FARM SIZE: 1 to 2 hectares on average
PRODUCER: Lutlala Washing Station
In the cup: Tropical fruit and floral notes. Brown sugar, grape, apple and a hint of spice.
2019 was Lutlala Washing Station’s first season processing cherry. Sr. Domingos Sarmento, a freedom fighter during Indonesia occupation and later Minister of Justice, is the community leader and owns the site for the project. Now that he’s retired from government, Sr. Domingos’ goal is to support the development of the coffee industry in Timor. In particular, he’s focusing on his home district of Ermera.
Construction and groundwork for water access began in 2018, and the station partnered with local agribusiness, FarmPro, to manage operations. FarmPro has been working with smallholder farmers in the Ermera district since 2013. Their main work includes distributing seeds and fertilizers, building capacity and marketing farmer produce.
Harvest & Post-Harvest
After selectively handpicking, farmers deliver cherry to Lutlala station. 549 farmers from 23 villages contributed cherry to the Lutlala station during the 2019 season. At intake, cherry is floated to remove any low-density beans and then hand-sorted to remove any unripe or overripe cherry.
Lutlala washing station has an ideal location on a north-facing slope. This sun-soaked spot, combined with a regular breeze that flows through the station, makes Lutlala a strategic location for drying parchment, particularly honeys, which can be difficult to dry successfully.
After pulping, the parchment, still sticky sweet with mucilage, is first dried on mesh wire tables, where it is regularly turned to promote even drying. After the mucilage is dry, the parchment-mucilage mixture is transferred to raised beds to finish drying. On average, parchment dried for approximately 14 days in full sunlight.
After moisture reaches 10-11% the parchment rests for one month prior to dry-milling and hand-sorting at a mill in the Railaco subdistrict.
Coffee in Timor-Leste
Timor-Leste has had a long and tumultuous history that has seen colonization, several occupations, independence and a long and difficult path to peace. Coffee has played a role in Timor-Leste’s economy since the beginning of the country’s modern history.
While coffee production in Timor-Leste continues to expand and quality continues to improve, the climate presents difficulties. The arid weather and short rainy season make it difficult for coffee cherry to grow. On top of contrarian weather, the low nutrient-content in the soil and negligible access to fertilizers and pesticides makes it more difficult for coffee trees to thrive. The average farmer currently collects only about 500 grams of green coffee per tree (2-3 kg cherry).
Timor-Leste’s coffee industry is prevailing in the face of these difficulties. Both quality and productivity are rapidly increasing. Small changes are increasing coffee quality by leaps and bounds, while several programs, funded by NGOs, are working to fundamentally change coffee harvesting and processing in the country.
The government is also playing a role in improving coffee quality by investing in infrastructure, such as new roads, that will make transporting both cherry and parchment easier. Timor-Leste is poised to be a reliable producer of good quality and versatile coffees.
We’re proud to be active in Timor-Leste. We work alongside farmers, cooperatives and agricultural extension officers to help farmers increase yields and quality. Our goal is to work with our partners to help farmers reach an average yield of 2.5 kilograms per tree while also increasing quality. Higher production and higher quality will mean larger incomes for farmers.
(Info courtesy of Sucafina)